Here is a quick riddle for all our clever readers out there: This meal begins with a “B,” and there is no better way to start your day. If you guessed beer, then we can be friends. While it is true that most Korean beer winds up mixed with soju, over the past four years, craft brewing has inspired a new generation of connoisseurs who value the quality of their drinks over the quantity. Until recently, trendsetter breweries like Craftworks, Magpie, Hand and Malt, and Galmegi could really only be found in Seoul, Busan, or Jeju-si, but with increasingly relaxed regulations on production quotas, microbreweries have finally begun to crop up here in our neck of the woods. Local beer lovers have a reason to rejoice because Gwangju just got its very first chic little brewpub: Afterworks. All the beers served on tap at this quaint Dongmyeong-dong venue are locally made and custom-tailored to younger palates. The food is also, incidentally, worth checking out.
The story of Afterworks begins six months ago when three passionate founders, Choi Jin-won, Seo Jun-yeoung and Yun Hyun-suk, envisioned an upscale boutique brewpub that married beer with fine dining. Starting from scratch, they founded their business in Jeonju’s famous traditional village and began testing recipes with names that would resonate with Gwangju customers, like Mudeung Mountain Pilsner and Yeongsang River Dunkel. In a break from recent trends towards heavy stouts and double hops, these three pioneers focused on lighter drafts, IPAs, and weizens, flavors that are far more approachable for folks accustomed to Cass. The resulting flight offered exclusively at their Dongmyeong-dong venue is perfectly delicate in every sense: pale in color, light on the tongue, and dangerously easy to drink.
Gwangsan Weizen, their big-ticket seller, is a frothy and full-flavored beer with hints of banana and clove that the ladies cannot resist. The Dongmyeong ESA is nutty, with rich caramel overtones. Ipdong IPA is floral, bordering on hoppy, with a distinct yeast bite that positively screams craft brewing. The Dunkel and Pilsner are both so light on the tongue they almost seem to evaporate. The average price for a half pint is 8,000 won, putting Afterworks a little on the pricy side, but for just 16,000, you can pick your favorite four to taste and even get some killer brie, nuts, and dried fruit on the side. Or, if you are feeling a little more decadent, you can double the price and order a full plate of toasted cheeses as an appetizer. Dinners are served more as Korean anju (dishes to share when drinking) than as individual meals. When ordering, expect more food than you can comfortably eat alone. In fact, just the menu selection itself is a bit overwhelming — 35 pasta, steak, seafood, salad, and fried items cover two pages in tiny font. You will probably finish at least one beer while choosing what you want to eat. An average party of two should expect to spend somewhere in the range of 30-40 thousand won for an evening’s entertainment.
If you can find it, Afterworks is the perfect place for a date or small get-together. Look for a little yellow sign with their logo, a pair of crossed wheat stalks, along a dark and deserted alley. The restaurant itself is tucked away from the street behind a tall wall that makes the place look uninhabited at first glance. Once you are through one of the two tiny gates, you will discover a gorgeous glass and wood cottage nestled in a brightly lit courtyard strewn with lanterns and Christmas lights. The pub interior is modern and sophisticated, more like a café than either a restaurant or a bar, and the staff is both elegant and professional. Menus are currently printed in Korean, but seasonal favorites are listed next to pictures of snowmen and Santas to help guide you in ordering the best that this fun new joint has to offer. Everything is good, so you cannot go wrong.
광주 동구 동명동 68-35 (동명로 14번길)
Dongmyeong-ro 14-beongil, Dong-gu, Gwangju
Open daily 12 pm – 12 am (last order @ 11 pm)
Break time 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm
For reservations call 062-225-1963